I see this so much.
We profess Christ. We pray constantly for what we want – a boyfriend, a husband, a family. We pray and pray and pray and we don’t see things changing. We get really frustrated. We may even start to get bitter and angry towards God. If we are not extremely careful, we can take a very dangerous spiritual turn.
It is so easy to think things like:
- I read my Bible every single day almost.
- I pray constantly, and sometimes I pray for hours every day (I personally used to pray for up to 4 hours per day on my days off)
- I tithe.
- I am doing “everything God wants me to.”
- I go to church 2-3 times a week
- I pray for a godly man
- I pray for children and a family
- I listen to Christian music
- I sing in the choir at church
- I teach a Sunday School class
- I am a “good person” or a “good Christian”
- I can quote dozens of Bible verses
God had better deliver.
“I mean, I don’t want to do all of this hard work in vain. It will have been a total waste of my time to follow God if He does not give me a husband and children … or give me what I want. Why, then my whole faith in Christ would be completely useless.”
I was on this path. This was me. I didn’t consciously realize what I was doing. But if God didn’t change my husband and make me feel loved by my husband, make my husband pray with me, make him love me the way I wanted him to love me… I was going to resent Him. How this sinful attitude terrifies me and brings me to grief, brokenness, sorrow and mourning now!
David Platt says with tears in his eyes and brokenness in his heart,
“We don’t come to Jesus to get STUFF… We come to Jesus to get GOD!!!!”
What did Satan accuse God of with Job. “God, You aren’t REALLY worthy of Job’s worship, devotion and love. The only reason he loves You is because of all the great things You have given to him and because of his good health. But the minute you take those gifts away, he will curse you to Your face!”
- THANKFULLY – God knew Job much better than Satan did and Job continued to praise, worship and thank God – even as he suffered. This brought great praise and glory to God’s Name on earth and in heaven!
We can SO EASILY THINK WE SERVE CHRIST BUT ACTUALLY SERVE STUFF (idols) AND NOT EVEN REALIZE WHAT WE ARE DOING!!!
I did! That is exactly what I did. I had no clue. No clue for about 20+ years that I was actually putting many other things above Christ in my heart – every waking moment. I was a BIG TIME idolator. What sin is worse than idolatry? Well, maybe unbelief might be – and, of course, I did that, too! I didn’t believe God was good like He said He was. I didn’t trust His sovereignty. I was constantly breaking the first and Greatest Commandment to love the Lord my God with all my heart and all my mind and with all my strength and with all my soul! I was committed to doing anything to get what I wanted and to make it all work out the way I felt things needed to for me to be happy. If Jesus could give me what I wanted, then I was in. But if He didn’t deliver…. then, well, He was going to face my wrath.
It is critical that we check our true motives here or we will think that we are being super spiritual and we won’t see our egregious sin. The tricky thing here is – we often don’t realize what our true motives are. We must allow God to open our hearts and examine them and expose every lie, falsehood, sin and every trace of toxic ungodliness and we must allow Him to remove that gangrene from our souls before it destroys us. This is painful. SUPER painful. But so necessary!
These are not things we consciously or purposely think. We may have convinced ourselves that we love Jesus and we are devoted to Him. But why are we devoted to Him? What is it that we ultimately want? And what is the fruit of our lives? Is it of God?
HOW I DISRESPECTED GOD:
- I questioned His goodness and assumed evil motives
- I questioned His Word
- I thought I knew better than He did, really
- I put myself above Him and His Word (that passage doesn’t really apply to me)
- I undermined His authority in my life and in other people’s lives
- I made demands of Him instead of approaching Him with reverence
- I disrespected my husband’s God-given authority over me
- I complained and argued against God
- I really wanted what I wanted for my own selfish reasons, I didn’t want God above all else
- I had idols in my heart, things that were more important to me than Christ – to God, that was like I was committing adultery against Him
- I lectured Him, told Him what to do, got exasperated when He didn’t immediately give me what I demanded to have.
- I didn’t submit to Him.
- I lived in rebellion against Him – evidenced by my total lack of the fruit of God’s Spirit and all the worry, fear, anxiety, bitterness and loneliness in my soul
I cannot approach God with disrespect, demands, pride, self-righteousness and a wicked heart full of sin and expect Him to hear and answer my prayers.
- I did X, Y and Z, so now God HAS to do what I want Him to do.
- I am going to dictate to God what He MUST do.
- God must submit to me.
- I am right. I know better than God. God needs to get with the program and do things my way.
- If God doesn’t give me what I want, I won’t trust Him or follow Him anymore. I will not put my faith in Him anymore.
- The real reason I serve God is to get what I want. If I do what He wants, then He owes me and has to give me what I want.
- What is most important is that I get married.
- What is most important is that I feel loved the way I want to feel loved and that I have the romance I desire.
- What matters most is that I am happy.
- I am going to do what I want to do, even if You say it is sin. Sin does not grieve my heart at all, and I don’t care how much it grieves Your heart, Jesus, or then great price You paid for my sin with Your blood.
- I cannot be content unless my circumstances change. I refuse to be content in Christ alone. He is not enough for me.
- I cannot be content unless God bows to my dictates.
- God HAS to do X or He is not worthy of my devotion, submission, adoration, worship, praise and love.
- I can’t actually trust God. If I really trust Him, He will hurt me and take away these things I want most in my life. God’s motives towards me are actually evil. I don’t believe that He is actually GOOD and incapable of evil. I really trust myself, not God.
- I am SO AFRAID that X might happen. That is NOT ok! My life will be destroyed, if that happens! I cannot trust God if that worst case scenario happened. God would not be able to sustain me. God would not be able to bring anything good from that. God CANNOT let my greatest fears happen, because I don’t trust Him to be able to use my greatest fears for my good if He were to allow me to go through that.
- If God takes X away from me, I would not love Him, serve Him or trust Him ever again. My greatest goal is to have X. If I can’t have that, then it is not worth it for me to serve Christ.
The above kind of motives and thinking reveal a heart that is completely infested with sin and evil:
- idolatry of self, trust in self
- idolatry of my husband, or his behavior, or getting my way, or my having control
- pride – thinking I know better than God
- that my heart is not completely submitted to Christ, that I demand He submit to me as if I were god
- that loving Jesus is not my primary goal, getting what I want is
- lack of faith
- a total lack of understanding of how utterly sinful I am and that I deserve nothing good from God
- All I need to be content in this life is You, Jesus!
- You are all I desire, Lord!
- I trust You, even if my greatest fears were to happen. I know that You are sovereign. I know that anything You allow into my life You will use for my ultimate good and Your glory. I don’t want to suffer if I don’t have to. But if You determine that there is suffering that is in my best interest, then I trust You. I will trust You even if I have to face my deepest fears. As long as You are with me, I know I will have everything I need.
- I stand in total awe and reverence and tremble before You, God! I am but dust!
- I am a wretched sinner! I am desperate for you! You are so very holy, high and lifted up! You are powerful, sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, good, perfect, sinless, beautiful, righteous, mighty, wise and awesome. I am on my face before You in utter and total humility!
- I want You, Jesus! Nothing else matters!
- Here is my will. But I don’t seek my will. I desire Your will first. No matter what it is.
- I hold nothing back from You. You gave me ALL of Yourself so that I could be made right with God by Your blood. Now, I give you ALL of myself.
- I cling to You, Jesus! I hold fast to You. Everything else, I hold loosely. If You take something away or if You give me something, I will praise You. You are good. No matter what my circumstances are, I will praise You!
- I will trust You alone! I know Your motives for me are all good. I know that You are incapable of anything but motives of love and goodness towards me. I know that Your definition of good is my ultimate spiritual good, to make me more like Christ.
- I will ask, seek and knock for things that I know are YOUR will. I don’t want anything apart from Your will.
- Purify my motives. Remove every trace of sin from my life. I want to please you! I want to obey You! I want to bring you joy more than anything in this life! Empower me to be faithful to You. I cannot do it on my own. Make me have Your Spirit so that You can tell me, “Well done, My good and faithful servant” when I stand before You. That is all that matters to me!
- You are my LORD! There is nothing You can ask me to do that I would refuse to do. All I can say to You is “YES, LORD!”
- I know that it is Your will to heal my marriage and to bring my husband to Yourself. I pray for these things, not so that I can have what I want for my own selfish pleasure or so that I can put those things above You in my heart – but so that Your Name might be greatly glorified and Your will might be done in my life, in my marriage, in my husband’s life and in our family as it is in heaven.
- I do not make demands of You, Lord. I approach You in total reverence, respect, awe, trembling and godly fear. I present requests, but they are all in perfect alignment with Your will and my motives are holy and pure, seeking only for Your glory and Your purposes to be accomplished.
- I am in amazement that through the precious blood of Christ, I have access to pray to You and to have a relationship with You. Help me to use this incredible privilege in a way that most honors and brings glory to Your Name!
- Purify me of every trace of pride, self-righteousness, greed, selfishness, idolatry, unbelief, bitterness, etc… Make me holy as You are holy!
- I want to know You more and more! I want to be near You. If only I can be close to You – I will be completely full of joy and content.
- Change my desires. Let me only want what You want.
- I long only for Your will and Your glory in my life – no matter what the personal cost is to myself.
Our God is COMPLETELY WORTHY of all of my devotion, worship, praise, love, thanksgiving, obedience, sacrifice, submission, strength, health, time, energy and blessing!!!!!!!! He is ALWAYS worthy of all that I have and all that I am. He is worthy of much more than I could ever offer to Him! How I long to always respond in praise – no matter what my circumstances – just like Job. There is no time, effort, energy, love, talent, thanksgiving or obedience given to God that is ever wasted.
Jesus gave His all for me – ALL to Him I owe!
Keep Making Me – by Sidewalk Prophets
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
This is PAINFUL stuff! But, in my experience, we all deal with these sins and issues. You are most welcome to share your struggles, concerns, questions, godly wisdom, insights and what God is teaching you. Let’s support one another as Christian women and rally around one another as we seek Christ together and desire to please and honor Him!